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Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Course in French

"It is obviously the date of the document." Obvious to whom? It was anything BUT obvious to me.

The woman to whom the date was obvious is French, a transplant to the United States. She has graciously designed a course for BYU to teach non-French-speaking genealogists enough of the language that we can read those oh-so-vital records.

Because of the instructor's clearly written directions, the dates on my ancestors' records really did become obvious. Although fluent in French I am not, I was able to make out a good portion of my 3rd great-grandfather's birth record:

"Naissance de (Birth of) Nicolas Schmitt:
Line 1.) L’ an dix-huit cent treize le neuf mois
Line 1.) The year eighteen hundred thirteen the nine month
Line 2.) à huit heure du matin par devant word8 maire
Line 2.) at eight hour of the morning in front of word8 mayor
Line 3.) officier de l’ Etat civil de helimer et word9 word10
Line 3.) officer of the state civil of Hellimer and word9 word10
Line 4.) et comparu Francois Schmitt word5 domiciliée
Line 4.) has appeared Francois Schmitt word5 residing
Line 5.) au dit helimer lequel nous áprésenté un enfant
Line 5.) in the said Hellimer who to us has presented a child
Line 6.) du sexe masculin né aujourd’hui word7
Line 6.) of the male sex born today word7
Line 7.) minuit et un heure de lui déclarant word8
Line 7.) midnight and one hour of to him informant word8
Line 8.) d’ Elisabethe Grosse son épouse et auquel il
Line 8.) of Elisabethe Grosse his wife and to whom
Line 9.) a declaré le prénom de Nicolas ladite
Line 9.) he declared the given name of Nicolas the said
Line 10.) présentation et déclaration faite en presence
Line 10.) presentation and declaration made in presence
Line 11.) d’ Jean Nicolas word4 word5 de word7
Line 11.) of Jean Nicolas word4 word5 of word7
Line 12.) word1 âgé de vingt deux an et L’orent Sadler
Line 12.) word1 age of twenty two years and L’orent Sadler
Line 13.) word1 âgé de trente neuf an tous deux
Line 13.) word1 age of thirty nine years both
Line 14.) domiciliés a helimer de que nous
Line 14.) residing at Hellimer of which we
Line 15.) nous ai word3 word4 acte que le pére
Line 15.) we have word3 word4 record of the father
Line 16.) word1 word2 déclarant ont signé avec nous
Line 16.) word1 word2 declarant have signed with us
Line 17.) aprés lecture faite
Line 17.) after reading done

Whew! Translating these records will certainly get easier as I become better acquainted with them. But this precious record was my first. And at the moment, it's my préféré.

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